Wrapping Up A Wild Whacky Wild-Card Weekend
The NFL sure put the "Wild" in Wild Card Weekend this year. Almost every game had it's thing. Brock Purdy went from JV high schooler in the first half vs the Seahawks before returning back to his elite backup-QB form in the second half. The Chargers put on an all time Chargering performance. The Bills almost blew a 17 point lead at home to a third-string quarterback. The Vikings proved to be the bigger fraud than the Giants despite a valiant effort from the G-Men. The Bengals almost let Windows Vista Lamar Jackson steal one if not for a 14-point swing play. And finally, Brett Maher strategically missed his first four extra points in a cunning move to avoid activating "Down 28 to a little in the playoffs" Tom Brady. This was all just insane. Let's go over the weirdness in detail.
Yip Off (Brock Purdy vs Brett Maher)
I had never seen a single player perform worse than Brock Purdy in the playoffs while at the same time having it not affect his team before Saturday. And I would never see anything like it ever again until I watched Brett Maher two days later. Purdy was phenomenally inept in that first half. Missing wide open receivers and throwing off target pretty much every throw, including a -1 yard swing pass that required the running back to spin fully around in order to catch the ball. Lucky for Purdy, he settled down in the second half and put a beat down on the Legion of Doomed Seattle defense.
But let's get real. There is no contest for who won this weekends Yip Off. Brett Maher was absolutely historic in missing his first four extra points Monday Night.
In reality, that 125,000:1 odds assumes variable independence which basically means it'd be accurate only if there was no such thing as a kicker having the yips. Brett Maher isn't a bad kicker, so the yips theory totally plays here. Dude got a double-dose of Monstar roofie. I looked to find another kicking performance on par with this and thought I found one all the way back in 1947 with Phil Martinovich of the Brooklyn Dodgers. He went 0-2 in extra points and tacked on an 0-4 in field goals. The only problem with chalking this up to the yips is that Martinovich was so bad at kicking he went 3/24 in field goals on the season. His longest make was from 72-feet which sounds a little less pathetic than saying 24-yards.
Sticking with the Bucs / Cowboys, we were given the gift of seeing the saddest converted onside kick recovery since the Texans in Week 8 of last year when the Bucs ran it back while trailing 31-14 in the waning moments. There have been 58 onside kick attempts in the NFL this year and this one made just four total conversions. But I'm glad this happened because it brought me to discover the sad onside kick GOAT - 2000 Arizona Cardinals head coach Dave McGinnis down 41 points.
With five minutes left in the game down 48-0, Jake Plummer finally got the Cardinals on the scoreboard. This key momentum swing led to the onside kick recovery to put Plummer back in the game for a drive that ended in no points. I respect this move by McGinnis. If you're not going to try, why take the field? Well, Dave wasn't going down without a fight and stuck it out until the very VERY bitter end. I think we can all agree he'd have made a fantastic Black Night from Monty Python.
Let's talk about the Chargers. Sticking true to their credit card based team name (a real fact), this team maintained their identity by defaulting on every asset in their possession and ending yet another season bankrupt.
The last time a team lost a game with a +5 turnover differential was the Arizona Cardinals in 2012. Matt Ryan threw five interceptions and zero touchdowns which was plenty good enough to beat Ryan Lindley, who for those who don't know, was the beta prototype version of Nate Peterman.
The Chargers losing this game after being up 27-0 also happens to be the third worst blown lead in playoffs history behind only the Chiefs (2013) up 28 vs the Colts and the Oilers (1992) up 32 on the Bills. The only difference with the Chargers game is that before it even happened everyone watching knew a slow motion train wreck was on the way. Everyone had their moment when this undeniable fact clicked. For many it was Lawrence marching down for a half-ending touchdown to put the Jaguars on the board. For me, it was just a bit before when Herbert missed a wide open receiver before the Chargers settled for a field goal.
We all know this team is just destined for disappointment. This game was no fluke. Think about it. Everything about this team starts by seeming really cool and ends up being super lame. There's no better example than their very name. The lightning bolt symbol is super cool only until you learn the name "Chargers" is a lame ass reference to charging a credit card, because the team's owner was in the credit card business. Sorry if I just ruined how cool the Chargers name seemed by stating this fact. but maybe that's why this team is so cursed after all. People who "charge" their credit cards are always happy at first to have some cool shit for a while before the inevitable bankruptcy nightmare ensues. That's literally the story of this team. And it's all in front of everyone's fucking face to see hiding in plain sight. It's not just the essence of the team. It's the goddamn name.
Speaking of misusing credit, the 2022 Fraud Bowl between the Vikings and Giants was everything it could have been and more. Just when you thought Seattle was the premier playoff turnstile defense, the Vikings and Giants both demonstrated Michelin quality hosting skills in escorting opposing offenses to their seats in the endzone without so much as even slowing their stride. This was just the fourth Fraud Bowl in playoff history as defined by having both teams holding a negative regular season point differential. The last one was way back in 2004 (Rams vs Seahawks). This was easily the most entertaining game of the weekend because both teams really tried to out-fraud the other in the end. The Vikings left a wide open Darius Slayton on a critical third down only to be outdone by Slayton dropping a perfectly thrown pass. But Kirk Cousins wouldn't be out done as he bravely pulled the trigger on a three yard out with blanket coverage on fourth and eight. Just absolutely poetic. Congrats to the Vikings. They were never what their record said they were.
One last thing. What on Earth is going on with these weak roughing the passer penalties?
I have a theory. You know how the cops always pull speeders over at the end of the month to hit their quota? Well check this out:
Roughing the passer calls are actually way down this year. This is funny because despite this being the season with the lowest calls since 2016, they make sure when they do call roughing it's as absolutely ridiculous as possible. I won't be surprised if we see a few more as refs desperately try to make up for lost time and get their quota.
What an absolutely wild weekend. I didn't even really cover the fact that the Bills and Bengals both almost lost in the rare playoff trap game as each team looked ahead at one another for the rematch to their prior game that never happened.
What a weekend. Let's run it all back.